Mo. Consumers Get $2.2 Million Back from Insurance Regulators

Missouri regulators announced last week that they recovered $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2012 for the state’s policyholders.

The Missouri Department of Insurance (MDI) handled 1,030 formal cases of complaints and more than 10,000 total inquiries during that time. The number of complaints and inquiries so far this year is outpacing 2011, when the MDI had handled 7,500 complaints and inquiries during the same period.

Shoppers looking to run an auto insurance comparison can get the fullest picture of an insurer’s quality by using both price-comparison tools and consumer-complaint listings, the latter of which are made public by state regulators.

“Missouri consumers who have claims denied by their insurance companies or feel their claim settlement is unfair should not assume they’ve run out of options,” John M. Huff, director of the MDI, said in a statement. “Our expert regulators are here to provide help at no charge to Missouri policyholders who reach an impasse” with their insurers.

The MDI also fined insurers $243,000 and recovered $663,000 in restitution related to exams and investigations of insurer misconduct, according to the department. Violations can range from unlawful rate hikes to delayed claims processing.

Most settlements came from 304 health-related disputes with insurers, followed by 202 auto-related disputes and 162 homeowners-related disputes. A bulk of homeowners’ disputes were related to tornadoes and other severe weather conditions that struck the state in late February and early March, according to the department.

Earlier this month, regulators in Connecticut reported recovering $1.2 million in the first quarter of 2012. In late April, Pennsylvania regulators reported recovering $3.4 million during that same period.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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